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T. Rowan Candy; Infants’ control of their visual experience through vergence and accommodation. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.31.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
While a large literature has demonstrated the impact of abnormal visual experience on postnatal development of the visual system, the role of the ocular motor visual system in defining retinal visual experience during infancy and early childhood has been less well understood. Advances in instrumentation have made it possible for us to track simultaneously infants’ vergence eye movements and accommodation, showing that these responses are coupled, associated with sensitivity to binocular disparity, and can be dynamically adjusted, from the first weeks of life. This control, along with that of conjugate eye movements, enables infants to control their own visual experience in their dynamic three-dimensional world. In turn, visual experience enables most children to calibrate these coupled responses effectively, while others develop misalignment of their eyes and strabismus. A key question for future studies is to explore the source of this individual failure, whether it lies in disrupted fusional vergence potential or in the ability to undergo adaptation. This talk will also briefly consider the following questions: How does the improving spatial resolution of the infant’s visual system affect the iterative development of motor and sensory visual systems? How can human visual development inform machine learning and robotics? How does development of the first stages of visual processing impact higher-order extrastriate function, and what is the influence of top-down processes?
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